The Cleveland Browns are having another eventful week.
The team is preparing for its Week 18 season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, January 9.
This comes on the heels of being officially eliminated from the playoffs on January 2 and losing an ugly game on Monday night football on January 3.
On January 4, we learn that Baker Mayfield is officially going on injured reserve to prepare for the much-needed shoulder surgery.
He is barely out of the building when Mary Kay Cabot revealed her reporting on January 5 about an alleged rift between Mayfield and Coach Kevin Stefanski.
#Browns Baker Mayfield must resolve his differences with Kevin Stefanski soon in case they need to co-exist next season; Also, some names that will be on the radar if they don't https://t.co/waNKPGtnJV
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) January 6, 2022
She cites unnamed sources who describe an underlying tension in the locker room this season because Mayfield and Stefanski did not see eye to eye on the offense.
No one has publicly addressed this issue until today when offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt was asked about this friction between Mayfield and Stefanski.
What AVP Said
— Fred Greetham (@FredGreetham9) January 6, 2022
“No. Absolutely not. I know the line of communication is wide open between those two guys. Kevin’s always been open, communicative with all the players.”
#Browns OC Alex Van Pelt: on if there's tension between Baker Mayfield – Kevin Stefanski: "No. Absolutely not. I know the line of communication is wide open between those two guys. Kevin's always been open, communicative with all the players."
— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) January 6, 2022
What It Means
Losing makes everyone edgy.
We will not fully know how significant the difference of opinion was this season between Coach Stefanski and Baker Mayfield.
The pair worked very well together last season and won a playoff game in Pittsburgh.
Mayfield’s injury way back in Week 2 changed the course of this season.
The Browns faced a critical decision point where they could have opted to shut him down to get the surgery at that time or to continue playing him in his injured state.
They chose the latter and now that the Browns had a disappointing season and failed to make the playoffs, there is plenty of time for fans and media to second guess that decision.
These men are professionals and can certainly figure out a way to work together if that is the path both parties choose to pursue in 2022.